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Neale, William (1609-1691) (DNB00)

NEALE, Sir WILLIAM (1609–1691), royalist, belonged to the Neales of Wollaston, Northamptonshire, who came originally from Staffordshire, and were the younger branch of the Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, and Warwickshire family (Noble, Memorials of Cromwell, pp. 11, 15 note, and 32). He was third son of John Neale, grandson of Richard Neale of Staffordshire, whose will was proved in 1610 (Northamptonshire and Rutland Wills, 1510–1652, Index Library). Sir Edmund Neale, knt., who had to compound for his estates as a royalist, and who died in 1671, aged 73, was his eldest brother (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1645, 1647, 1648; Bridges, Hist. of Northamptonshire).

William took an active part in the civil war as scoutmaster-general in Prince Rupert's army. On 3 Feb. 1643 he was knighted by the king at Oxford for bringing the news of the taking of Cirencester by the royalist army; at the relieving of Newark, which was besieged by Sir John Meldrum [q. v.] in March 1644, he fought close to Prince Rupert, who was attacked at once by three ‘sturdy souldiers,’ one of whom, ‘being ready to lay hand on the Prince's Coller, had it almost chopt off by Sir William Neal.’ At the end of the fight he was employed in a parley to draw up the terms upon which Meldrum's forces should retire. He was still in the army in 1659, in which year he seems to have been taken prisoner (Cal. State Papers, 1659, 25 Aug.–4 Sept.)

Presumably as a reward for his services a baronet's warrant was made out for him on 26 Feb. 1646, in which he was specially exempted from the 1,095l. ‘usually payd in respect of that dignity;’ but the grant was never completed. A second warrant of 8 Aug. 1667 (made out to William Neale of Wollaston, omitting the title of knight) seems equally to have failed to procure him the honour which he sought.

He died in Gray's Inn Lane on 24 March 1691, and was buried in St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden. His arms were the same as those of the Neales of Deane, Bedfordshire, and of Allesley, Warwickshire: per pale sable and gules, a lion passant guardant or.

[Metcalfe's Book of Knights; Hist. Memoirs of the Life and Death of that Wise and Valiant Prince Rupert, &c., 1683; His Highnesse Prince Rupert's Raising of the Siege at Newarke-upon-Trent March 21, 1643, being a letter written by an eye-witness to a Person of Honour (this is copied by Rushworth pt. iii. pp. 11, 308, and Oldmixon, p. 247); Marshall's Genealogist, vi. 211; Cal. of State Papers, 8 Aug. 1667; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. iii. 902; Burke's General Armoury]

E. G. P.